Punch Pubs & Co is exploring a potential takeover of Blackpool-based pub company Amber Taverns. Sky News has reported.

The Fortress Investment Group-backed company is understood to have requested access to information about the sale of business, alongside other interested parties.

Heineken and Admiral Taverns are also understood to be looking at bids for Amber, with the auction – run by Sapient Corporate Finance – likely to command a price tag of around £200m.

The James Baer-led pub group appointed advisors earlier this year as it looked to review its options, including a potential sale of the business.

Amber is owned by MxP, an investment vehicle set up by Michael George, the former controlling shareholder in Weetabix, and backed by Ares Capital Management.

It currently operates about 160 community pubs, predominately in the north of England, Wales and the Midlands.